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History and traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand, prior to 1840


page 381

It has been said a few pages back that the defeat of Waikato enabled Te Rau-paraha to complete his arrangements for his further migration. His first step in this direction was an endeavour to secure the aid of the Ngati-Raukawa tribe of Maunga-tautari, near Cambridge, and their consent to migrate and join him in his proposed settlement on the shores of Cook's Straits near Kapiti Island. To this end, after making arrangements for his people at Ure-nui, he started on a long journey, going inland from Ure-nui by way of the Upper Waitara and Upper Whanganui on to Taupo, where, at Opepe (later a constabulary station twelve miles from the town of Taupo, on the main road to Napier) he met the assembled Ngati-Raukawa under their principal chief Te Whata-nui. Here the question was discussed, but the tribe was not yet ready to fall in with his views, indeed they tried to persuade him to join them in a war with the people of Hawke's Bay, in which direction Ngati-Raukawa were turning their eyes as a country that might be conquered, and to which they thought of migrating.* Disappointed in his endeavours, Te Rau-paraha went on to Roto-rua and there interviewed Puku-atua, the principal chief of the Ngatiwhakaue branch of Te Arawa. Puku-atua, however, did not care to render any assistance; so Te Rau-paraha then visited Tauranga to see the chief of that place, Te Waru, and equally failed to enlist him in the movement for migrating to Cook's Straits. Whilst there, the news arrived of the fall of Te Totara pa at the Thames, which was captured by Hongi-Hika, the great Nga-Puhi chief, with great slaughter, in December, 1821. The month previous Hongi had taken Mau-inaina pa at the Tamaki (near Panmure), and amongst the slain at both places were some people related to Te Rau-paraha, which greatly incensed him.

Failing in his mission to Te Waru, Te Rau-paraha now returned to Roto-rua and thence on to Roto-kakahi, where the principal people of the Tu-hou-rangi branch of Te Arawa were living in their island pa of

* As a matter of fact Ngati-Raukawa did start for Hawke's Bay immediately after this meeting, and there attacked To Roto-a-Tara.

page 382Motu-tawa. His principal wife, Tc Akau, belonged to this tribe. Whilst here, the news came of an expedition of Nga-Puhi under, the young chief Te Pae-o-te-rangi, then on his way to attack Te Arawa. Having in mind the death of his relatives mentioned above, Te Rau-paraha incited the Tu-hon-rangi people to destroy this northern taua, and then left for Ure-nui by the inland tracks, accompanied by some of the Tu-hou-rangi, who had agreed to cast in their lot with him. His advice tbore fruit, for most of the Nga-Puhi taua was inveigled into the pa at Motu-tawa, where the whole were killed, whilst only a very few of the others escaped to carry back the news to their relatives in the north.*

* Sce " Wars between the Northern and Southern Tribes," where details of all these transactions will be found.